The Cathedral of Saint-Joseph in Bambari in the Central African Republic is surrounded by the Islamist rebels of Seleka, says the local bishop who is launching an appeal to the Fides Agency.
More than 12,000 civilians who have been driven from their homes by the fighting are in the area, according to Fides.
Local Church sources in the capital of Bangui say they are receiving little information “because the phone lines within the region of Bambari are blocked.”
Some Fides sources report that the siege began Monday. The attackers fired at the Cathedral campus, which includes a school and the Episcopate, or diocesan house.
One priest testified that several people have taken refuge in the Cathedral sanctuary, but some of them were reportedly shot, and one death has been reported.
The French military of the Sangaris unit has reportedly clashed with the Islamist rebels. People in Bambari have been enduring the tension for about a week due to the presence of the rebels of Seleka and anti-Balaka groups, says Fides.